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18 Salvadoran Dishes, Drinks, And Desserts You Need To Try

I'm craving alllll of this.

Ryan Pattie

Nestled between Guatemala and Honduras, El Salvador is the smallest country in Central America. But you wouldn't know it by looking at all of its incredible food. 🇸🇻

From favorites like classic pupusas topped with tangy curtido, to drinks and desserts like horchata de morro and creamy leche poleada, here are some of the best Salvadoran recipes and dishes you can make at home.

1. Pupusas

Pupusas are griddled flatbreads made with masa harina (corn flour) and stuffed with a variety of ingredients. This version uses chicharrón, refried beans, and plenty of cheese.

Recipe: Pupusas

2. Curtido

A bowl of curtido
Alex Lau /

Curtido is a cabbage relish – a sort of super refreshing, tart coleslaw – that's usually served as a condiment with pupusas. This one adds non-traditional serrano peppers for a bit of heat and tastes great right after you make it — but it gets even more flavorful if you let it sit in the fridge for a few days.

Recipe: Curtido

3. Salvadoran Quesadillas

A plate of Salvadoran quesadillas

Salvadoran quesadillas have one thing in common with their Mexican counterpart: cheese. But instead of tortillas, these are rich, buttery, and super cheesy cakes. They're usually served for breakfast and pair amazingly well with a hot cup of coffee.

Get the recipe: Salvadoran Quesadillas

4. Elotes Locos

5. Gallo en Chicha

Gallo en Chicha in a baking dish

This traditional dish is a staple of Salvadoran home cooking. Think of it as the delicious Salvadoran version of French coq au vin or Moroccan chicken tagine. It's marinated and cooked in "chicha" – a fermented drink made with corn and pineapple. If you can't find it at your local store, some recipes use beer instead while others recommend apple cider vinegar mixed with a bit of dark brown sugar.

Recipe: Gallo en Chicha

6. Salvadoran Budin

A plate of banana budin
Facebook: buzzfeedtasty

This sweet bread pudding is usually made with leftover bread so nothing goes to waste. This version offers a little bit of a twist by adding bananas to the traditional recipe for extra deliciousness.

Recipe: Salvadorian Budin

7. Tamales Pisques

Tamales are an ancestral food native to Central America — their origins trace all the way to 7,000 BC. These Salvadoran tamales pisques are made with a corn-based dough filled with refried beans, then wrapped and steamed in banana leaf.

Recipe: Tamales Pisques

8. Leche Poleada

9. Riguas

10. Torrejas Salvadoreñas

A plate of torrejas Salvadoreñas.

This specialty (traditionally eaten during Easter week) is essentially the Salvadoran version of French toast. It's super easy to make — with lots of cinnamon for extra flavor.

Recipe: Torrejas Salvadoreñas

11. Yuca con Chicharrón

A plate of yuca con chicharrón

Yuca (cassava) is prepared either fried or boiled here. It's served with deep fried pork skin, AKA chicharonnes, AKA crunchy bites of perfection.

Recipe: Yuca con Chicharrón

12. Horchata de Morro

13. Marquesote

14. Casamiento

15. Nuegados de Yuca

A plate of nuegados de yuca

Nuegados are little donuts often served during Easter week in El Salvador. They can be made with corn flour, banana, and eggs — but this version uses cassava and grated cheese. The process is really easy: Mix all the ingredients, shape the dough into small disks, and deep fry those. Serve with some spiced honey and you're in for a treat!

Recipe: Nuegados de Yuca

16. Atol de Elote

17. Sopa de Pata

18. Chocobananos

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Charlotte Gomez / BuzzFeed